You know who is even more happy than Tim Lincecum and his fans after the San Francisco Giants signed him to a two-year, $37 million contract? The Major League Baseball Players Association because the Giants have now set a new bar for middling, under-.500, over-4.50 ERA pitchers. The signing means even below average players will continue to get p-a-i-d.
In other words, the Giants overpaid for a player — again. Put Lincecum in the Marvin Bernard, Barry Zito and Aubrey Huff category of players who the Giants gave more money to than the free agent market would have paid them for their services.
There is no way any other team in the majors would have paid Lincecum that kind of money, especially considering they would have had to give up draft picks to do so. San Francisco would have made Lincecum a qualifying offer in the amount of about $14 million, which would have meant any team that signed Lincecum would have to give the Giants some kind of compensatory draft pick. Considering how much draft picks are valued nowadays, that would have been a tall order.
And if they did? Thanks for the memories, Tim.
All those fans applauding the move are Lincecum fans and not necessarily Giants fans. If I presented you a pitcher who had just posted a 10-14 record with a nearly 4.60 ERA and said the Giants just signed him for $17 million a year, the team would be pilloried. But put Lincecum’s name in front of those numbers and people go wild. Now those fans will get to continue wearing their “Let Timmy Smoke” T-shirts and their long-hair wigs and the Giants marketing department gets to dream up other Lincecum-related swag to pass on to a fawning fan base.
I don’t get it. I thought the idea was to win championships, not appease a fan base.
While the Giants may have overpaid, does that make it a bad deal? That remains to be seen. The Giants have been operating in the high-rent district when it comes to payroll over the last several year, being in the top six or seven teams when it comes to spending and have proven they will pony up to pay players.
But if management and ownership beg off signing other players that could help the team, claiming poor after giving Hunter Pence $90 million over the next five years and the Lincecum deal, then signing the pitcher is a bad move.
If the Giants go into spring training with the Gregor Blanco/Andres Torres platoon in left field, don’t find an upgrade in center and stick with an aging, injured Marco Scutaro at second base, then the Lincecum signing is a horrendous decision.
The one saving grace is the contract is only for two years and if you compare it to Lincecum’s just-expired, previous two-year deal in which he made $22 million per, then this deal is, essentially, a pay cut for “The Freak.”
But if it means, as Daily Journal advertising representative Charles Gould said, shopping at the Dollar Store to fill out the roster, then this deal is not worth it.
I was once a longtime subscriber to “Sports Illustrated” and one of the features it had on a weekly basis was “Signs the Apocalypse is Upon Us,” which was a small blurb about the audacity and idiocy the world of sports can sometimes be.
If the following story doesn’t make it into S.I. over the next week or two, I’d be shocked. Apparently, a parent Texas parent filed a bullying complaint against a school whose team crushed their son’s team, 91-0.
This kind of frivolous investigation gives real bullies a bad name, so to speak, in that people may not take a real situation of bullying as seriously given this lame suit.
Thankfully, the school district found no grounds to support the bullying claim.
The winning coach responded by saying he did everything he could to keep the score down: took his starters out after just a handful of plays and inserted his second- and third-string players early in the game.
And even the team’s subs overmatched the opposition.
There has been no word from the coach of the losing team, but if he says anything other than, “It’s our own fault for not being able to stop them,” he is not worth his salt as a coach.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.